University of North Carolina
NCAA Championship Round 3
Sunday, May 29
Freshman David Ford birdied three of the last six holes to finish round three under par and the University of North Carolina shot even par Sunday to remain in fourth place after 54 holes at the 2022 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Tar Heels shot 280 on Sunday and have compiled a 9-over 849 total over the first three days of stroke play in the championship.
The top seven seeds in the field enter Monday’s fourth round holding the top seven spots in the standings. No. 1 Oklahoma leads at 1-under-par 839. No. 2 Oklahoma State is second at 3 over, No. 3 Vanderbilt is third at 5 over, the fifth-seeded Tar Heels are in fourth place, No. 6 and defending champion Pepperdine is four strokes behind UNC in fifth place at 13 over, fourth-seed Arizona State stands sixth at 19 over and No. 7 Texas is seventh at 20 over par.
The 30-team field will be cut to 15 teams for Monday’s final round of stroke play. The top eight teams at the end of competition on Monday advance to match play, which begins on Tuesday.
Ford and Tar Heel senior Ryan Burnett are tied for fifth at even-par 210, four behind Gordon Sargent of Vanderbilt, who shot his second-consecutive 68 for a three-day total of 4-under 206.
“We’ve kind of shown it all year, the talent and depth we have,” says UNC head coach Andrew DiBitetto. “It’s one of the reasons we’ve had so much success is we have five guys that can play great golf and have a chance to win every single time we tee off. We’re not relying on one guy or two guys. Our ‘ number five guy ‘(Peter Fountain) was a first-team All-American last year. Ryan Burnetta senior who’s in the fourth slot, has won college golf tournaments and he’s in the top five, so we have talent, we have toughness and we have depth all the way through our roster. “
For the second day in a row the Tar Heels began play on the 10th hole and Ford began his round with a bogey. He also bogeyed his 11th hole and was 2 over through 12. The Peachtree Corners, Ga., Native began his march up the leader board with a birdie on the par-5 fourth and added birdies on holes six and seven to conclude his round at 1-under 69.
“I kind of got off to a slow start today, which was very different from the previous two rounds,” says Ford. “I came out hot (Friday and Saturday) but today I started out with a bogey and was 2 over through 12 holes. I was hitting really good shots but nothing was falling. I just told myself to be patient the whole day and eventually they (putts) started to fall. I didn’t really change anything, just stay stuck on a game plan and stay patient. “
The 69 was Ford’s 23rd round under par this season, which leads UNC, and was his 15th in the 60s. Sargent is the only other freshman in the top five in the individual standings in the championship.
Burnett began and ended his day at even par for the tournament. He birdied two of his first three holes to briefly share the lead and added a third birdie on his sixth hole to get to 3 under for the championship. He played his second nine in 3 over to finish at even for the day and the tournament. Saturday, Burnett made three of his four birdies on par 3s; today, he made all four of his birdies on par 4s and was 1 over on the par 3s.
Fifth-year senior Ryan Gerard is tied for 12th place after a second straight round of even-par 70. He made two early birdies, made a double bogey after taking an unplayable lie on his 13th hole but rebounded from that miscue with a 1-under finish over his last five , including a birdie on his final hole.
Fountain, a sophomore, birdied his last two holes to shoot 71 and junior Austin Greaser had a 74.
“Another really good day, a solid day by our guys,” says DiBitetto. “It kind of seems a little bit like Groundhog Day. Conditions are still tough; the greens are really firm but the wind was down this morning so you could kind of get out to a fast start. Our guys did a nice job. We were three or four under early in the round then the winds started to blow a little bit in the middle of our back nine and it seemed like there was a little bit of stress, a couple of balls in the desert here and there. our guys are so gritty, so tough and had a big finish. David Ford making three birdies in the last six holes was huge. Fountain had birdies on 17 and 18 and then (Ryan) Gerard also made birdie on his final hole for some big-time performances down the stretch. “
Golf Channel will broadcast Monday’s fourth round beginning at 5 pm Eastern. The Tar Heels will be paired with Pepperdine and Arizona State, the same teams that played together in the first two rounds. Tee times for the Tar Heels, Sun Devils and Waves begin at 1:55 pm Eastern (10:55 am local time).